Mark "Sy Sable" Merlino - founding furry who paved the way for furry conventions and original species - passes away

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Sy Sable (Mark Merlino) and Fanta, by Panda Jenn One of furry fandom’s original founding members passed away from liver cancer on February 20, 2024. Mark Merlino, alongside the late Fred Patten, were two of the six founders of the first anime club in the United States in May 1977. This interest and fandom evolved into a focus on the anthropomorphic characters which became large enough to grow outside into a tandem fandom known as furry.

This would culminate in the founding of the first convention exclusively for furry fans in Greater Los Angeles, ConFurence, which he co-directed with his mate Rod O’Riley. It saw yearly growth in attendance until Mark left the board at the end of 1998. Other conventions would grow to replace the founding convention that closed its doors in 2003. Its direct successor Califur started in 2004 and ran until its closure in 2017.

Merlino’s legacy has been well documented, featuring in Ash Coyote’s The Fandom and Joe Strike’s Furry Nation.

The fandom has been mourning and memorializing his passing with articles of his legacy, and fan art featuring his original species, the Skiltaire. Ren Tradewind has come forward with the suggestion of making his birthday of May 12th a sort of Fandom Foundation holiday.

Digging Up Positivity February 2024

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In this episode:

  • Zootopia 2 gets a release date!
  • Small trains and giant cats!
  • Several furry charities and the update to total raised this year!
  • An exclusive interview with Nio the Dutch Angel Dragon!

Welcome to the February episode of digging up positivity. At the time this goes live, both me and this episodes’ special guest are at Nordic Fuzzcon in Malmo, Sweden, where I am helping the charity team raising funds for U-Animals. But besides this awesome charity, there is so much more! And I love to tell you more once future me has returned home.

But for now the charity updates!

My Little Pony fan gathering shut down in Russia

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The Insider covered news that broke on a Russian furry YouTuber’s telegram group about a Russian My Little Pony meet called the Mi Amore Fest. The gathering was allegedly ordered to disperse by the Federal Security Service (FSB). This is two months following when the cartoon show was deemed as mature content by the government. While a reasoning has not been given for this rating, rumors are that this was due to the rainbow mane and tail of the character Rainbow Dash and the growing animosity of Russia toward the symbol of the rainbow and its ties to the LGBTQ+ movement.

Russia Bronies

Second furry taproom opens in Seattle

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Slightly Furry The opening of a furry taproom called Slightly Furry in Seattle by Martinisoft and SpORK Styles was covered by the local alternative magazine The Stranger.

This establishment replaces what used to be called the Sovereign Brewing establishment, just off the very Western end of Interstate 90 before it meets Interstate 5. Vulpine Taproom

This is the second furry-operated taproom to open in the city. The first is a facility called the Vulpine Taproom located near the northernmost shore of Lake Washington. The article by The Stranger contains interviews and stories behind both businesses.

Opinion: The top ten movies of 2023

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2023 movies

This year’s list contains movies directed by Wes Anderson, Greta Gerwig, Hayao Miyazaki, Christopher Nolan and Martin Scorsese.

It also contains two adaptations of toy properties and two Marvel movies! Got to let people know it’s still me.

Newsbytes archive for January 2024

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Contributors this month include 2cross2affliction, dronon, earthfurst, GreenReaper, and Rakuen Growlithe.

Sixth annual Good Furry Awards open for nominations

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Good Furry Awards logo
The 2024 Good Furry Awards are now open to receive nominations. This is the sixth year for the program, which is sponsored by the 'Ask Papabear' advice column and Uncle Bear Publishing. It recognizes furries who have generously given their time, skills, or money to help the furry community, promote a positive image of the furry fandom, or otherwise help animals and people anywhere in the world.

Fur your Consideration: 12 animation short reviews for 2023

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UMA recommended When writing this article for 2022's works, my thought was to help present short furry animations in a way that’d promote organic discussion. I enjoyed doing it, so will try to make it an annual tradition. As I was going through the Ursa Major recommended list, I found these entries had become a bit longer than last year; there were also more of them, so they took more time to review, but for most it was well worth the time.

These are the eleven I felt were most worth a view, plus a bonus, lightly-viewed short not on the Recommended list that I felt worth talking about.

Digging Up Positivity - January 2024

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Hello! In this episode we cover:

  • The final numbers of the Furry Charity Index 2023 and a new total
  • Charities by the furry fandom in January
  • Controlling your fuzzy ears with your brain in VRChat
  • Animation news
  • An exclusive interview with Laser The Sharkfox
  • Announcement winners of the Tshirts and Pawpillows!

Movie review: Three foreign animated films from 2017-2019

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'The Angel in the Clock' poster Three foreign animated film reviews! Behold the trailers for:

The Angel in the Clock,
White Fang, and
The Bears' Famous Invasion of Sicily.

All of these films successfully blend 3D and 2D animation in their own different styles.

White Fang is the most 3D, applying a brush-like texture to characters to create a 2D, painted look. Angel's main characters are 2D, with 3D designs used for the settings. Bears uses 3D for almost everything, then alters its visuals to look as 2D as possible.

Republican state lawmaker in Oklahoma calls for neutering children who are "furry" in defense of his proposed law

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Legislator Justin Humphrey of the Oklahoma State House of Representatives submitted a proposed bill (OK Bill 3084) which would indicate that a student identified as a furry would be removed from the classroom by their parents, or failing that, animal control.

Students who purport to be an imaginary animal or animal species, or who engage in anthropomorphic behavior commonly referred to as furries at school shall not be allowed to participate in school curriculum or activities. The parent or guardian of a student in violation of this section shall pick the student up from the school, or animal control services shall be contacted to remove the student.

This is another political act based on a rumor that started two years ago about cat litter being utilized by students 'pretending to be cats'. This is the second proposed law in Oklahoma to try and remove furry students from the classroom that also had the misuse of the terminology of “anthropomorphic behavior”. It is also the second year in a row that such a law has been proposed.

Ursa Major Awards open for 2023 nominations

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The Ursa Major Awards for the best furry content of 2023 are now open for nominations! Anyone can nominate works from inside or outside the fandom from January 20 to the end of February 17, 2024. After the nomination period has closed, voting will run from March 1st to March 31st.

A review of 'Migration' disguised as a how-to guide for movie reviews (or vice versa)

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'Migration' movie poster How do you review a movie?

Let’s take, as an example, the movie Migration. The purpose of a review is to give the reader an idea of what the movie is like, and whether or not they might want to spend the time and money to watch it. The basic facts of the movie should be listed; so, in this example, Migration is a computer animated movie from Illumination (The Secret Life of Pets, Sing), directed by Benjamin Renner (Ernest & Celestine, The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales). I included examples of the creator's previous work that might give my audience some idea of what to expect. However, this can easily be found on free sources like IMDB or Wikipedia, and a review is not just a recitation of facts.

A brief plot synopsis is usually a good idea. In Migration’s case, the story is about a family of ducks (Kumail Nanjiani as father Mack, Elizabeth Banks as mother Pam, Caspar Jennings as son Dax, Tresi Gazal as daughter Gwen and Danny Devito as uncle Dan) who decide to migrate from their tiny pond to Jamaica. It plays like a road trip comedy, but with ducks. Along the way, they have adventures with a decrepit heron (voiced by Carol Kane) and her mute husband, a one-legged pigeon (voiced by Awkwafina), a caged parrot (voiced by Keegan-Michael Key) and a cult-like group of farm ducks, while being chased by a chef who specializes in duck à l'orange.

Once we have details of what Migration the movie is, we can move on to the reviewer's opinion.

Insular lawmaking leads e621, Pornhub to block North Carolinians

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Just before the new year chimed in, furries in North Carolina - and a few others nearby - found themselves blocked from accessing well-known fandom imageboard e621, which indicated that they would no longer be serving the state without further discussions with legal experts:

Due to the current legal situation in North Carolina and the uncertainty surrounding it, we will be blocking access to e621.net from North Carolina until we can consult with our legal counsel on this matter. We did not come to this decision lightly and we will do what we can, as we can, to rectify and remedy this situation so that we can restore access to those users that are affected by this matter. We sincerely apologize for this inconvenience and will have an update as soon as possible. - e621 news updates - 2023-12-31

e621 is not alone in this action, as Pornhub has also blocked access to its page in North Carolina.

Newsbytes archive for December 2023

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Contributors this month include 2cross2affliction, dronon, earthfurst, and GreenReaper.

From the Yerf Archive